The news from Redmond this week offers a sense of déjà vu to long-time Tent City watchers such as myself. Saint Jude Catholic Church will be fined $350 to $500 a day by the City of Redmond for hosting the eastside encampment. The camp’s projected stay could draw more than $37,000 in fines, which will be paid through donations.
It could have been Saint Anthony’s, or maybe Saint Stephen’s. But, deliciously, it is Saint Jude’s. According to Catholic Online, St. Jude Thaddaeus “is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases….”
Here’s the thing about that “forefathers” part.
Just seven years ago, Seattle similarly took on Trinity United Methodist Church in Ballard and lived to regret it. Pastor Rich Lang wrote in Real Change that “We can only conclude that the fine’s real purpose is to intimidate congregations so that they will not provide for the needs of the poor. But solidarity with the poor is constitutive of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church can do nothing less.” I recall this episode as the turning point in Seattle’s stance toward Tent City.
And that gives me hope. We’ll be watching closely to see where this new collision of church and state leads. My bets are with Jude.
By TIMOTHY HARRIS, Executive Director
For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/02/21/feb-21-2007-entire-issue